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Outlook Festival '15: Sun, sea and bass; lots of bass

  • Published in Reviews

outlook festival 2015

Every year for the past eight years, 15,000 revelers have set off from all corners of the earth in search of a bass music haven located on the Adriatic coast. In the midst of this utopia lie nine different stages and fifty boat parties sited across an idyllic beachside setting and an abandoned 10,000ft, 19th Century fortress. This week-long escapade is not only an amalgamation of the finest in worldwide underground music culture, but also a compilation of like-minded individuals in search of sun, sea and bass; lots of bass.

dj ez outlook festival

Photography by Dan Medhurst

Be it via air, land or sea, revelers flock in their masses to the site on Monday to enjoy a variety of beach parties, until the carnage fully ensues on the Thursday night. The Dub Smugglers began official proceedings on midday Thursday at the beach stage, packing out the sea front throughout the afternoon until both Hatcha and DJ EZ caused two hours of garage carnage. It was when the arena opened that the real carnage ensued however, with a beast of an opening night line-up, it was impossible to catch every act on your list; sacrifices had to be made. For me this meant catching Foreign Concept and Kasra absolutely destroy the moat and Dusky deliver one of the highlights of the festival on the main stage, following on suit from the fantastic Mount Kimbie. Deep Medi also held down proceedings in the Mungo's Arena with a brilliant showcase from some of dubstep's frontrunners.

boatparty outlook

Photography by Jack Gunter

The name of the boat party on the Friday did a sufficient job of detailing events, as "Something Big" was just that indeed. With a lineup as hard hitting as Skeptical, Icicle & Ant TC1 for 3 hours touring the bay, it was definitely going to get wavy. Business rolled on as expected, with Skeptical bringing the surgical precision in minimalistic side of proceedings, and Ant and Icicle backing this up with their typical hard-hitting barrage of beats.

outlook 2015 stage 6px;

Photography by Dan Medhurst

Back at the harbour, drinks were flowing and it was time to hit the castle, where Mungo's Arena was my centre of attention, hosting an eclectic selection of Exit Record's finest; Fixate, Fracture, Stray, dBridge, Skeptical and Mark System, with SP:MC and Visonobi on microphone duties. Special mention has to go out once again to Skeptical, who kept the vibe on untold levels throughout the day. The second party in the stage trade-off for this evening was The Clearing, which hosted 10 years of DMZ, representing the legacy built by Mala, Coki and Loefah over that last decade.

With Saturday in full swing, and the infamous Croatian dust lung really starting to take it's toll, the day took to a slow start, with lilo lounging in the sea being the order of the day, surrounded with the booming sounds of Dub Smugglers, Mungo's Hi-fi and The Mouse Outfit. Another particular mention must go out to the Mexican food stand and their standard issues, Chilli and Nacho's too, which is to a majority of Outlookers what a stab proof vest is to a marine; futile against an evening of chemical warfare, but a vital lining nonetheless.

As events unfolded into the evening, the Noisia Invites stage at the Clearing was another highlight, astonishing performances all round, with Noisia in particular delivering a masterpiece in the heavier, full frontal spectrum of drum & bass. They pioneered this curated sensory overdose alongside, Fre4knc, Hybris, Rockwell, The Upbeats and Xtrah. Jungle Jam also took charge of Fort Arena one, delivering their usual ragga goodness, with DJ Hype and Kenny Ken at the forefront, as well as the Manchester collective "Levels" making their mark on the Garden stage for their Outlook debut.

Do you know that part where you wake up at a festival, and you tell yourself, "I'm just gonna take it easy today I think and see how I feel"? Ok, and do you remember the last time you actually meant it? No me neither, so the minute you wake up on the last day, and see that near-boiled flat lager coaxing you from that plastic bottle, accompanied by mysterious liquid masquerading as white wine, cut the bullshit and get to it. Here you are again, final night, ready to rumble, stumbling through the woods, saying yes to things you shouldn't and no to the slowly impending notion of reality.

outlook 2015 crowd

Photography by Dan Medhurst

This night was the gamechanger, in the sense that I had many plans prior, executed none and went with the flow to have arguably the best night of the entire festival. Highlights and must-see's of the final evenings were Goldie and Break both literally and figuratively shutting down the main stage, Youngsta and SP:MC commandeering the gargantuan Void Incubus and Zed Bias holding down the Garden stage alongside comedy stalwarts Kurupt FM and Big Narstie. For myself however, despite all these other options, the night was mainly spent at Fort Arena 1 watching Hawaii's one and only Mr Carmack in an excellent display of hip hop and spaghetti-like trap beats.

With the music finally concluding, and thousands of ravers descending upon the now tarnished campsite for the last time, we wound down by the shore, overlooking the incredible horizon as the night drew to a close and the sun rose again. At this point in particular you really get a sense of togetherness and the true concept of freedom that a festival offers. Be it the drugs, the intense lack of sleep or the false sense of a temporary Utopia that we all seem to easily attach to, it’s at times like this that particularly beautiful moments between friends and total strangers can be experienced, in total silence, and in the crazy world we live in I feel it's actually a beautiful sentiment.

outlook 2015 people

Photography by Dan Medhurst

At the risk of splurting out too much gap-year-garbage however, and rolling down the road of emotionalism at this point, it really is important to cover the all-encompassing experience that I've come to realise Outlook Festival is after my 3rd year. It's more than just a music festival, it holds true from the fact this is no Leeds Fest, and this is no Creamfields; you take away the music there and you're just piss-wet in a field drinking flat Carling, listening to some scouser up to his eyeballls in mephedrone. Outlook however is an experience that offers so much more, from the idyllic setting, to watersports, beach bars, beautiful sunsets, and like-minded indulgent people from all over in search of the wonderful and voluptuous. You're free, they're free, or at least you both feel it, and that's all that matters, irrelevant of where you’re from the music always sounds the same, and that 'togetherness' is no more synonymous with anywhere more so than Outlook Festival.

But Jesus, listen to me getting all emotional towards the end, you can tell the festival blues have set in. Maybe I've learnt some life-changing lessons and grown as a person, or maybe that hippy in the woods was right and it wasn't just a piece of paper, but either way roll on next year, I'll see you at the bench.

Registration for Outlook 2016 now open – www.outlookfestival.com